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Slice of German Chocolate Cake on a dessert plate with a red fork

German Chocolate Cake

5 from 13 reviews

The ultimate German Chocolate Cake with 4 layers, caramel, coconut, pecan filling and a luscious chocolate frosting!


For cake:

For filling:

For syrup:

For icing:


  1. Butter two 9 inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Melt both chocolates with the 6 tablespoons of water in the microwave. Heat for 30 second increments until mostly melted. Whisk until smooth, then let cool to room temperature.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients.
  5. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff. Gently fold about one third of the egg whites into the cake batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites and mix just until the egg whites are incorporated
  6. Divide the batter into the 2 cake pans, smooth the tops with an offset spatula, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake layers completely.
  7. While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.
  8. To make the filling, mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a saucepan. Put the 6 tablespoons butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon.
  9. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool to room temperature.
  10. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat, and stir in the dark rum. Set aside.
  11. To make the frosting, place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and the 3 tablespoons of butter. Heat the cream until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand about a minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
  12. Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a long, serrated bread knife. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.
  13. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.
  14. Frost the sides with the chocolate icing, then if desired, pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, to circle the coconut topping.


Adapted from David Lebovitz.

Cake may be stored at room temperature for a day or two, then refrigerate.